College of Education > News and Publications > News: July - Sept. 2012 > Alumni Society Honors 2012 Award Recipients

Alumni Society Honors 2012 Award Recipients

Congratulations to eight outstanding alumni of the College, winners of 2012 Alumni Society Awards.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The College of Education Alumni Society proudly announces its 2012 award winners. All recipients are alumni of Penn State’s College of Education and have distinguished themselves in their careers, as well as in the field of education.

Alumni Award Recipients: Seated L-R: Marie Pierson Himes, Alyson Miller, Maura Keasey, and Joyce Graham. Standing L-R: Robert Todd Kilmer, Christine Merritt, David Monk, Johnathan Klingeman, and Michael Meyer.Excellence in Education Award

Joyce Graham '86 Ph.D.

Outstanding Teaching Award

Christine Merritt ’90 Sec Ed

Leadership & Service Award

Michael Meyer '99 M.Ed.

Outstanding New Graduate Award

Jonathan Klingeman '08 Sec Ed, Journalism

Outstanding Student Teaching Awards

Fall 2011

Marie Pierson (Hines) '08 International Stds, ’11 M.Ed.

Maura Keasey ’11 E K Ed

Spring 2012

Robert Todd Kilmer ’12 E K Ed

Alyson Miller '12 M.Ed.

 

 

Excellence in Education Award
Joyce Graham '86 Ph.D.

 

Dr. Joyce Graham received her doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction from Penn State in 1986. She also holds a master’s of education in reading from Western Washington University and a bachelor of science in elementary education from Glassboro State Teacher’s College.

After receiving her Ph.D., Joyce went to work for Scholastic Inc., first as a National Language Arts consultant and later as part of Scholastic’s product development team and was responsible for the writing, assessment, and staff development components of Literacy Place, Scholastic’s first basal reading program. She has also worked as a project manager for the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education and as the national professional development manager for Rigby Education.

In 2001, Joyce returned to Scholastic as the director of professional development for Scholastic RED, the first blended model online reading courses, where she led consulting teams working with school districts throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Her teams specialized in improving literacy rates in underperforming schools, often in high poverty areas. Joyce and the expert teams she assembled were instrumental in helping schools raise reading achievement levels in urban, rural, and suburban schools across the country.

Today, Joyce continues her work in education as the executive director of professional development for The College Board, where she is responsible for insuring that advanced placement teachers nationwide are well prepared and have the resources they need to do their jobs.

Dr. Bernard Badiali, an associate professor of education, writes that “even a cursory examination of her career accomplishments would indicate that Joyce has made an enormous contribution to education throughout the United States. Her knowledge, her experience, and her drive to better the lives of children though fostering the professional development of their teachers qualifies her for the Alumni Society’s highest honor. She has represented the College of Education very well.”

Outstanding Teaching Award
Christine Merritt ’90 Sec Ed

 

Christine Merritt received her bachelor of science degree in secondary education in English from Penn State in 1990. She holds a master’s degree in secondary English instruction from Elmira College and has taken curriculum and instruction graduate courses from Penn State. She also completed a principal certification program at Saint Francis University.

Christine has worked as an educator in State College area schools for the past 17 years. As a teacher she designed activities to bring student’s interests in line with curricular goals while generating curiosity in her students. She has twice been awarded Educator of the Year by State College Magazine.

She also took on the additional responsibility of the district professional development associate. She worked with Penn State English teacher-education student-interns and their mentors, developing seminars, distributing professional readings, and working to help educators learn strategies for successful collaboration.

In 2009, Christine became the associate principal for curriculum development for State College Area High School. There, she provided leadership in developing and evaluating the high school’s curriculum. She empowered those who worked for her to determine the vision for their own departments, and her proactive management style helped coordinators stay ahead of the issues. In less than two years, she transformed the student assessment protocol by implementing the use of Classroom Diagnostic assessments and systematic curriculum review strategies.

Currently, Christine works as the English department coordinator where she leads a department of nearly 40 English teachers and 17 interns. She continues to encourage collaboration among teachers. Jamie Myers, a professor of education and the director of the SCASD-Penn State Secondary English Professional Development School says, “A vibrant new energy is apparent in the English department with the arrival of such an accomplished and proven leader.”

After working closely with Christine for many years, social studies coordinator Debrah Poveromo says, “Christine inspires the people around her to work together and take on the challenges of education in the 21st Century and to do the meaningful work that makes a difference for our students.”

Leadership & Service Award
Michael Meyer '99 M.Ed.

 

Michael Meyer received a master’s of education in counselor education from Penn State in 1999. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Allegheny College.

Michael is a 7th grade counselor at Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina where he has proven himself to be a strong leader with a social conscience who is driven to share his enthusiasm with his students and engage them as future leaders. He is the advisor to the Social-Organization and Service Club. In the club, students learn leadership and responsibility by assuming project management roles, balancing budgets, and soliciting local sponsors. Under Michael’s direction, the club implemented projects including a Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics, a Fun Fair for wounded veterans, and an event at a Carolina Hurricane’s hockey game to raise funds for the permanent memorial at the 9/11 Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Perhaps the most significant accomplishment of the Social-Organization and Service Club is an annual dance marathon, an event based on Penn State’s Thon. Since 2001, students have raised over $130,000 for Duke Children’s Miracle Network and The North Carolina Children’s Hospital.

One student said of Michael, “Mr. Meyer is the most dedicated, caring, thoughtful, and sincere person I’ve ever met in the educational field. He doesn’t go to work to get paid; he goes to work to help kids accomplish their dreams, and he does it with a smile. It is rare to find someone like Mr. Meyer in the educational field.”

 

Outstanding New Graduate Award
Jonathan Klingeman '08 Sec Ed, Journalism

 

Jonathan Klingeman received a bachelor of science in secondary education and a bachelor of arts in journalism from Penn State in 2008. He holds a master’s of science in educational studies from Duquesne University and is currently pursuing a master’s of education in administration and leadership studies from California University of Pennsylvania.

While an undergraduate student at Penn State, Jonathan was an active member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Forum, public relations chair of the College’s Cycle-thon committee, served as president of the Education Student Association and even taught abroad in Sweden. He was known for mentoring his fellow students and generously sharing lesson ideas and strategies. At Mt. Nittany Middle School, he is still fondly remembered as an energetic and committed teacher.

Jonathan is currently a regular language arts teacher at Altoona Area Junior High School. Apart from his standard teaching duties, Jonathan is an advisor for both the junior and senior high school’s successful drama programs. He is also advisor for the scholastic scrimmage team, emcees school assemblies, and has worked to receive multiple grants which have enriched the experience of his students.

Jonathan focuses on giving personal attention to his students, and more than one of his colleagues have noticed him taking personal time to help high-risk students. “Mr. Klingeman has distinguished himself not only in the classroom but as a leader among the faculty, and a gifted drama coach responsible for large-scale student productions. I have been proud to watch him develop into a fine teacher and committed professional who represents all that we hope for in education at Penn State.”

Outstanding Student Teaching Awards

Fall 2011
Marie Pierson (Hines) '08 International Stds,  ’11 M.Ed.

 

Marie Pierson has a bachelor of arts in international politics from Penn State and completed her master’s in education in curriculum and instruction this past summer, also at Penn State. She is currently employed at the Bald Eagle Area School District as a secondary social studies teacher, instructing courses in geography, government, and American history.

Marie did her teaching practicum in the Penns Valley Area School District, instructing high school students on sociology, psychology, government, economics, and global issues. Marie, a member of the Schreyer Honors College, used her experience as a Fulbright Scholar who taught in Germany, and as a political intern in Washington, D.C. to enhance the learning experience of her students. By combining her lessons with the effective use of technology and adapting lesson ideas to fit her students’ needs and interests, she made difficult content relevant, enhanced learning, and encouraged the students to draw on their own life experience and apply what they learned.

Tasked with teaching an American Government and Economics class, Marie realized that the students viewed the Constitution as an ancient artifact with little relation to their daily lives. She took advantage of a recent locker search at the school to develop and implement an activity to demonstrate different scenarios related to the Fourth Amendment. Activities such as this made her students feel more inspired and empowered to make a difference in society at all levels.

One of her students said, “Ms. Pierson has been an inspiration to everyone in the class. Any student out there that gets the privilege to learn from her teaching is indeed lucky. I fully believe that I have retained so much knowledge that I could go and teach a class on the very same subjects.”

Marie’s supervising teacher, Ronnie Voigt, writes, “She is the rare jewel in student teaching going above and beyond in her planning, organization, community involvement, quality of work, and professionalism. Without a doubt, she is truly deserving of this award. “


Maura Keasey ’11 E K Ed

 

Maura Keasey is a Schreyer Honors Scholar with a bachelor of science in elementary and kindergarten education .

Maura did her teaching practicum in a first grade classroom at Franklin Elementary School in the North Allegheny School district. In addition to her teaching and planning responsibilities, Maura completed her Schreyer’s Honors Thesis titled, “The Effects of ADHD and Internal/Contextual Factors on Academic Achievement. “ She was also selected to serve as the College of Education’s Fall 2011 Class Marshal.

Maura possessed an infectious enthusiasm for teaching and her level of expertise was more reminiscent of a veteran teacher. She was a true team player, consummate professional, and exceptional educator with great poise and quiet confidence. Her extensive experience implementing developmentally appropriate lessons was particularly evident during the design of a Multiple Intelligence unit that focused on 1 D’s Recipe of Friendship. Developmentally appropriate children’s literature and a Friendship book were used throughout the unit which was then used to enhance the North Allegheny School District’s Anti-Bullying Program.

Her cooperating teacher Thomasina Vaina said, “I can categorically state that I have never observed a student teacher embrace the responsibilities of teaching with Ms. Keasey’s level of professionalism, preparedness, and expert differentiation of instruction. In addition to her ability to consistently reinvent an environment that captures the students interest and maximizes their learning, she possesses a highly developed intuitive sense regarding children. Her demeanor with students is intrinsic; it is something that cannot be taught. Ms. Keasey is inherently a teacher.”

Spring 2012

Robert Todd Kilmer ’12 E K Ed

 

Todd Kilmer did his teaching practicum in a first-grade classroom at Penn Lincoln Elementary School in the Altoona Area School District. As a Title I school, 90 per cent of Penn Lincoln’s students are living below the poverty line and at risk. Using a positive management style, Todd reached out with great compassion and creativity to students whose difficult circumstances at home affected them in school as well.

A gifted teacher with a dynamic and magnetic personality, his competency in technology made his classroom come alive in a creative, meaningful, and interactive manner. Todd encouraged active student participation, responsibility, and accountability. In order to help his students be more empathic to the differences of others, he introduced them to Braille and his class became penpals with blind students.

Beyond his classroom responsibilities, he showed great initiative in helping to plan a school-wide BINGO night as a reward for completing the PSSA’s and participated in McTeacher night cleaning and serving food at McDonalds to raise funds for the school.

His principal, Catherine Keefe writes, “Mr. Kilmer holds extremely high expectations for his students while demonstrating a caring and compassionate learning environment for his diverse learners. He teaches and models manners, respect, integrity and above all, empathy to students who represent many social and economic challenges. He is a natural.”

Alyson Miller '12 M.Ed.

 

Alyson Miller approached her student teaching experience after serving as a Lieutenant Junior Grade aboard the USS Preble. She had directed the training program for a crew of over 300 on antiterrorism and security as well as overseeing all the weapons and training. She has an environmental engineering degree and was the water program manager for four military installations as well as a Water Resource Control engineer evaluating the Clean Water Act in California.

Alyson completed her teaching practicum at Park Forest Middle School in the State College Area School District in an 8th grade physical science classroom. She integrated a multitude of learning strategies to connect with students including a laboratory activity she called “Walking the Hallway” which helped students calculate velocity by measuring the distance between classrooms and the time it took to walk between them. Her passion for STEM learning was evidenced by using lasers one dreary afternoon in lieu of sunlight. Using colored laser pointers and chalk dust, the students were able check their mathematical calculations of focal points. Her labs were creative, age appropriate, and fun. She went above and beyond her required responsibilities by doing research, testing and preparation in order to assist in writing a grant to fund a project that would be sponsored by both McDonald’s restaurants and First Energy Corporation.

Bill Hughes, a teacher at Park Forest Middle School wrote, “It has been a delight, pleasure, and professionally enriching experience working with Alyson. She is a natural at keeping students actively engaged in their work with an atmosphere of curiosity, involvement, and excitement. She is a valued colleague who demonstrates the right stuff every day.”

Supervising teacher, Ronnie Voigt, writes, “Alyson has served her country, her profession, her family, and her students in an exemplary manner that makes us all Penn State proud.”